Wesleyan portrait of Yu-ting  Huang

Yu-ting Huang

Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies

Mansfield Freeman Center, 204


BA National Taiwan University
MA National Taiwan University
PHD University of California, Los Angeles

Yu-ting Huang

My research expertise includes contemporary Chinese and Sinophone literature, transnational Asian literature, indigenous literature in East Asia and the Pacific, and the comparative studies of settler colonialism and indigenous politics. Exploring China and East Asia in the framework of imperialism and settler colonialism, I am interested in modern East Asian nationalism as a multifaceted process that involves territorial expansions and consolidations, competition with other imperial interests, transnational traffic, and the management of ethnic and cultural differences. Relatedly, I examine indigenous, ethnic, and transnational literature as articulations of alternative subjectivities beyond the nation. I ask in my research: How do literary authors imagine self and belonging in connection to the place of their residence and to other peoples who visit or also inhabit the land? How do authors of relative minority positions use literature as a vehicle to articulate self-identity, imagine communities, and enact resistance? How do these articulations compare across linguistic and geographical borders?

My current research focuses on Asian-indigenous relations in contemporary ethnic and postcolonial Asian literature. My book manuscript, The Making of Asian Settlers: Land, Resistance, and Indigeneity in Postwar Taiwanese and Asian American Literature, examines how settler writers from Taiwan, the U.S., and Hawai'i establish themselves as settlers during the 1970s and onward, in an effort to imagine alternative subjectivities in resistance to imperialism and racism. The book thus analyzes a central paradox in Asian settlerhood: to counter imperial and state strategies of control, exclusion, or assimilation, postcolonial and ethnic Asians claim the relation to land as the basis of their being and belonging, but in the same move, they risk undermining Indigenous peoples' sovereignty and perpetuating settler hegemony. Examining how Asian settlers establish their settlerhood and absorb indigenous difference through literary narratives, this project traces the origins of contemporary flashpoints between Asian activism and indigenous decolonization.

My recent publications include "Being Ethnic in a Bicultural Nation: Acts of Translation in Chinese New Zealand Fictions" (Modern Fiction Studies 63.3: 2019) and "Writing Settlement: Locating Asian-Indigenous Relations in the Pacific" (Verge: Studies in Global Asias 4.3: 2018). I have also co-edited a collection of essays, Archiving Settler Colonialism: Culture, Space and Race (Routledge, 2019), with Rebecca Weaver-Hightower. The collection gathers scholarly analyses on various cultural archives of settler colonialism across geopolitical and linguistic contexts, illustrating how settler cultures emerge from divergent, locally situated conditions where strands of power and forces of resistance crisscross in unexpected ways. With these publications, I seek more nuanced understanding of one's relation with nation, empire, race, place, and indigeneity. 

In addition to my work on settler colonialism and Asian-indigenous relations, I also pursue new research projects on environmental literature across the Pacific, especially in connection with the circulation and representation of waste. During Fall 2020, while in residency at the Wesleyan Center for the Humanities as a faculty fellow, I presented a paper titled "Trashy Encounters: Modernity, the Great Pacific Garbage Gyre, and Indigenous Futures." (video link) It compares literary reperesentations of the Pacific Garbage Gyre in two novels—one by Han Taiwanese settler author Wu Ming-yi and the other by Australian Aboriginal author Alexis Wright—to contemplate the curious encounter between Indigeneity and plastic waste and how both figures relate to the temporal logic of modernity. 

I received my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UCLA in 2015. Before arriving at Wesleyan in 2018, I was Mellon-Keiter postdoctoral fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Amherst College.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Tuesday 12:30-3:00pm, by appointment only at this link


Fall 2024
CEAS 201 - 01

CEAS 202 - 01
Narrating China